Dancing Ganesha, Four-headed, Eighteen-armed, Captured In Vivid Red In Brocadeless Newari-style Thangka
Ganesha is as popular with Nepalese Buddhists as He is with Indian Hindus. Called Vinayak in the Kathmandu Valley, which is the origin of the Newari style of art and architecture, this widely loved and venerated deity has been captured in vibrant colours and detail in this brocadelss thangka. He is dancing on a large, black, rather vicious roopa of His vahana, the rat, as His eighteen arms flailing around His portly frame as He motions in dance. His silken dhoti is a pastel red, matching the dye on His inner palms and complementing the pastel-coloured sashes on His troso. In fact, red is the dominant colour of this thangka, from the rich red of the aureoles (even those of the accompanying deities in the corners) and the inner flaps of the Lord's ears, to one of His four pastel-hued heads. The colour, together with the lifelike stance of His limbs and the ecstatic composure of countenance, conveys motion supremely well.
The thangka has all the hallmarks of Tibetan art. A vivid colour palette, Dikapals and other guardian deities that flank the central figure, and a cheerful lotus pedestal. From the bejewelled gold crown and the halo rimmed with gold petals to the entirety of His delicate shringar, the sheer amount of gold in this thangka matches the generous proportions of red that characterise the Neweari style. In each of His hands are objects of dharmic significance, more of which are painted against the dense turquoise background. Note how fiercely He guards His favourite laddooes from toppling over as He dances with a bowlful in one of His hands.